credit: Alon Merom
In her native Israel, Ninet Tayeb is more than a household name — the
acclaimed singer/songwriter/actress is arguably the biggest entertainment
figure in the country.
But the road here — on the verge of her fifth album, which will be the first
to be released in the U.S. — has been anything but comfortable and
straightforward. Even a cursory listen to these new songs reveals an artist
with deep resilience, fierce determination, and disarming
vulnerability. Along with an unflinching vision of her own path, those are
traits that have allowed Ninet to emerge as the wild and free voice you hear on
As incongruent as it seems today, over a decade ago the aspiring artist
first found success by winning “Israeli Idol”, launching her to instant fame.
Her debut album took less than a day to go platinum and yielded five #1
singles, not to mention a long-running TV series (which she starred in)
based on her life.
Her acting career took off; she delivered an electrifying performance in the
movie “The Assassin Next Door” and was nominated for Best Actress in
the 2010 Israeli Theatre Awards. On her second album, “Communicative,”
she turned inward and deeply explored her musical identity — to influences
like Jeff Buckley and P.J. Harvey. Public reaction was immediate and
harsh. She was pelted with objects at her album launch show. She played
to almost no one on the subsequent tour.
That night was a turning point.
Ninet stayed on that stage- both figuratively and literally.
Slowly but surely, people listened. More than that, they responded —
turning Ninet into Israel’s favorite artist and a two-time winner of Israel’s
“Favorite Music Act” at MTV Europe’s Music Awards.
After releasing one more album in Hebrew, she released her first in
English, Sympathetic Nervous System. It was recorded at the Motor
Museum Studios in Liverpool and produced by Mike Crossey (The 1975,
Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Wolf Alice). She has since shared stages with acts
such as the Jesus and Mary Chain and Cyndi Lauper, and has been
collaborating and touring for close to six months with Porcupine Tree’s
Steven Wilson, appearing at such iconic venues as Royal Albert Hall in
London and The Beacon Theater in New York. Ninet is ready to share her
most honest and dynamic work yet with the rest of the world. Collaborating
with producer Joseph E-Shine, Ninet has created an album for people to
get lost in and — in the end — find their own way home.
“I want people to feel whatever they want to feel,” she says. “I wanna be
the channel to their deepest thoughts. I wanna make them feel alive.”
For an artist who’s stood her ground and made her way on her own terms,
it should be no surprise that Ninet finds live performances — visceral,
dynamic, potentially messy — the most powerful way to connect. “The live
performance is my favorite part because everything is happening in the
present,” she says. “You can’t go back, you can’t delete or change
anything. What you see is what you get and I think that nowadays, in the
world we are living in, the live shows are the reality. I wish people could be
more present in the moment.”